What an amazing group of incredibly friendly women coming together at an awesome enterprise! I felt so honoured to be invited to my first luncheon at Project Respect and I was so excited to come along to meet members of a profession whom I admire immensely.
My name is Kathryn and I worked as an escort for five years form age 45 to 49 ( 4 years ago ) while also doing other day jobs. It was a time of my life when I was privileged to meet many amazing strong women ( and some very descent, friendly men ) and this is why I am so very happy to discover Project Respect, with which I hope to get more involved as a volunteer.
I couldn't believe how warmly I was welcomed at the luncheon and how spoilt we were with delicious food, great company, and even a free manicure to boot! It feels like I've found a new family.
Do you know how we are all searching for a connection and a purpose in life? Well I think I may have found it here.
Today was my first lunch with Project Respect. I met workers from diverse cultural backgrounds and experiences of the sex industry. There were some positive and negative stories shared amongst my peers, it was a timely reminder about how workers in the industry require more rights and access to supports. Thank you Project Respect. (lunch attendee)
This month the theme was Mexican. It was a complete feast! It was nice to be able to see the women after the break.
Great conversation in a nurturing women's space. It was a lovely afternoon with excellent food!
This was the last luncheon of the year. We had a good turnout, beautiful spread and everyone loved it. Very good conversations, catch up and discussion of the industry. It was a very supportive environment.
It was a cold August winters day. But that didn't stop a small group of us from missing out on delicious food and fabulous company. This months cuisine was Filipino. Hugs were exchanged and catch ups began before entree was served - home made spring rolls. I could not stop eating them. I tried to leave room for the main course, which was a decadent coconut based pumpkin curry along side some rice noodles with veggies. A few of us commented that this was one of the tastiest meals yet. We love our chef, who also joined us for lunch, and we shared stories and advice on serious topics like working “real jobs”, and how it can be hard to make new friends once you leave the industry. We also celebrated one of our attendees achievements. Congratulations on your graduation K. You rock! - Author: Lunch Attendee
This was my first lunch attended and I had been stalling for months. But when I arrived, I was welcomed by all and there was a strong sense of unity and comradery. The American cuisine was un- American due to the fact that is was tasty and healthy. There was gluten free options for me which I really appreciated. The chef provided for all. At the end of the lunch we gathered to state positive affirmations about one another and a tear or two was shed. This was a longer lunch than usual with women staying up until 4.30pm. Looking forward to the next lunch! - Author: Lunch attendee
Today there were seven of us bonding over a delicious Ukraine banquet of borsch, pierogi, homemade bread, roast vegetables and dumplings. It was lovely seeing familiar faces and getting to know each other on a much deeper level, while also welcoming a new friend into the fold. It was another very relaxed afternoon with great food and wonderful company. - Lunch Attendee
Once again the food served was delicious! This time we had fresh and fragrant Vietnamese rice paper rolls and salad, followed by a desert topped with an amazing coconut cream sauce. The mood around the table was great, with conversation flowing easily. Discussion included sharing current information from different aspects of the industry, and of most value was news shared from a few around the table about their personal breakthroughs in their pursuits to transition out of the industry. Altogether a lovely afternoon with "real" people who get it. -A.
I met some really lovely people. The lunch was great, absolutely delicious food. It's nice to meet women inside and out of the industry in a social and supportive setting. (posted by a lunch attendee)
Community Lunch - March 2018
Greetings are exchanged as the arrivals trickle in and put on their name tags. There are mostly familiar faces, with some newcomers who are welcomed warmly by all. We help ourselves to some spearmint, lemon and rose water, and sit around a large table stocked with a wide array of delectable dipping sauces, pita bread, vegetable fritters and fresh greens. The ladies dig in enthusiastically among light-hearted chit chat about how our week has gone and what's the latest film we've seen.
Soon the conversation turns to more serious matters, this is a safe space where anything can be discussed with an absolute lack of judgement. There is curiosity about the differences in each others work, these are women who have previously or currently worked in all kinds of sex work, and though outsiders may be quick to pigeonhole them all into the same box, we know how much variety there is in the different industries, and we are eager to learn more about each other and how we work. A wide range of topics are discussed, from how secure we feel in our working environment, with anecdotes of some scary situations where bouncers have needed to be involved, to how pleasant the work environment can be depending on our coworkers and management.
These are women who can often be dismissed by others as lacking in intelligence and choosing "easy options" in life, but anyone hearing them delve into the topic of equality and the future of sex work in a world where the patriarchy is being questioned more and more intensely would soon revise that opinion. They are intelligent and hard working, they are pillars of support for their children and other family and friends, and this is reflected in the views they express.
The main course is served, delicious tortilla wraps with feta cheese and crunchy vegetables loved by all. The chef, always keen for feedback and suggestions, mindfully crafts each meal, taking care to ensure that everyone's dietary needs are respected. One of us suggests we should try to meet to do some fun activity together like bush-walking. The group reacts eagerly, part of the support offered by Project Respect is quite simply the friendships that can emerge from being in such relatable situations. Everybody needs to be able to share and discuss things with others, but our situation is unique and difficult for people outside the industry to fully comprehend. The topic of relationships is a great example, we can ask each other for advice, speculating whether an issue stems from the nature of our work and how it can change our perception of what is 'normal', having a friendly sounding board for such doubts is essential to one's mental well-being.
Dessert comes in the form of natural dried apricots and juicy fresh figs. We remark once again how gorgeous the food has been and what an enjoyable experience it is to spend an afternoon with a group of such strong, positively influential women. A suggestion box appears where some note down ways in which we can further be helped, while another simply writes "I am happy to be here" summing up our collective feeling in one sentence that says it all.
By a community lunch participant